Feb. 13, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Breaking Ranks on the Thurmond Rule

Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Bacharach — who has been a U.S. magistrate judge for the Western District of Oklahoma since 1999 and before that was in private practice with Crowe & Dunlevy in Oklahoma City — is an example.

But even with the support of Collins and Snowe, it is unclear how Coburn and Inhofe will vote, although they have publicly said they are in favor of the nomination.

A Coburn spokesman said the Senator would make up his mind on how to vote today. Efforts to ascertain Inhofe’s plans were unsuccessful.

The vote comes after attorneys who represent Oklahoma with the American Bar Association wrote to Coburn and Inhofe asking them “(1) to use your considerable influence within the Senate to urge leadership of both parties to schedule a floor vote on Judge Bacharach’s nomination before the August recess and (2) to publicly announce your willingness to vote to end any filibuster preventing a vote on the merits of the nomination if necessary.”

Bacharach is a noncontroversial nominee, according to Democrats and GOP supporters, and the Judiciary Committee approved his nomination by voice vote last month.

“On the merits, Bacharach is not controversial,” Tobias said.

The vote also holds implications for Kayatta’s nomination.

Both Collins and Snowe have been advocating for a vote on Kayatta, and if Bacharach is confirmed it could ease his path.

“With very little time until the August recess, it remains my hope that the Senate will confirm Bill Kayatta of Maine, whose qualifications to serve on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals are equally impressive and whose nomination also has strong bipartisan support,” Collins said.

“Mr. Kayatta is superbly qualified, was similarly approved by voice vote in the Judiciary Committee, has bipartisan support and would be an outstanding addition to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. I have strongly supported Bill’s nomination from day one and will continue to work with the Senate leadership in an effort bring his nomination to the floor,” Snowe said.

Democrats, who control 53 seats, will need seven Republicans to reach the 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.

Along with the four possible votes from the Oklahoma and Maine delegations, another potential GOP vote is Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), who has voted to overcome judicial filibusters in the past.

Other possible GOP votes include Arizona Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain, who last month voted for the confirmation of Andrew Hurwitz to the 9th Circuit, going against the party grain.

Republican Sens. Dick Lugar (Ind.), Scott Brown (Mass.) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) also voted to cut off debate on the Hurwitz nomination and could vote to advance Bacharach. Hurwitz was the last circuit court nominee to be confirmed by the Senate.

Along with Kayatta, another possible consensus nominees is Richard Taranto for the Federal Circuit, according to Tobias. The Judiciary Committee approved his nomination by voice vote in March, with only Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) voting “no.”

“In the past, consensus nominees have been confirmed late into the year,” Tobias said.

The conservative Heritage Action for America opposes Bacharach’s moving forward and said last week it would “key vote” the cloture vote.

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